4A girls golf: Lehigh holds on for individual title, Loveland wins first championship

(Cannon Casey/CHSAANow.com)

ERIE — Loveland's Lauren Lehigh definitely made it interesting, but she got it done.

"I still knew where I stood. For me, I play really well from behind and I know that," Lehigh said. "I don't always play the greatest with a lead, but I managed to keep it today. I knew that it wasn't going to be an issue, that I trusted my game enough to know I could perform the last couple holes. I had to trust myself."

Lehigh got back to playing consistent golf in the second round to hold on and win the individual and team title in the Class 4A girls golf state championships over teammate Aili Bundy.

"That was our whole goal this year," Lehigh said. "To get that for our seniors, for the school, that experience for everybody on the team. It's amazing."

Bundy was a late mover on the leaderboard as she made a push after starting the day +5 in the first three holes. In the next 15 holes, Bundy shot two-under-par to finish tied for second with Glenwood Springs' Lauren Murphy.

"It was so nice to be able to go out there and shoot a solid round the second day," Bundy said. "I kind of did the same thing today as I did yesterday. I was five over after three holes, and I thought, 'Something's gotta change.' I was really proud about how I came back from that and stayed calm."

Loveland girls golf team

(Cannon Casey/CHSAANow.com)

Loveland effectively had the 4A team title locked up before day two began, and their lead only widened with Bundy and Lehigh's stellar play.

The Indians finished the first round with a score of +17 — 18 strokes better than the next closest team.

After the second round, the Indians had a team score of +43, paced by Lehigh (+8), Bundy (+9) and Hannah Doran (+26).

"I'm so happy for our team and for our coach. He's put everything into this season and into us," Bundy said. "He's really encouraged us throughout the year. We tried not to get ahead of ourselves during the season, we never really talked about state. It was definitely a storybook ending, I couldn't have asked for anything better.

"This is the cherry on top. I'm just on cloud nine right now."

Windsor (+70) came in second, while Glenwood Springs and Golden tied for third with +85.

That Loveland trio all finished in the top-10 of individual scoring.

Lehigh battled the wind and cold weather to make the turn at three over par. Then, things got interesting.

"On the front nine, I hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens, and got up and down when I needed to," Lehigh said. "The back nine was a little harder for me to hit fairways. I don't know why, just wasn't as accurate with it. Missing greens by a little bit isn't bad, but missing greens that I have to chip, that's when it gets a little nerveracking."

Lehigh posted a seven on the par-four 13th. Then, she bogied the next hole and her lead was dwindling.

After two straight pars, Lehigh bogied 17 and clung to a one-stroke lead going into the final hole.

"I'm very trusting in my game," Lehigh said. "I know that whatever happens happens, and I know I can get it back. I trust my game, I'm confident in myself. I think that's a pretty good word to describe my game."

Bundy finished on 18 in the group ahead of Lehigh and could only watch as her teammate played her final hole.

"I told my coach, I'm proud of how I've played so far. I'm never going to root against a teammate," Bundy said. "I knew she was one stroke ahead of me and I just told him I was going to hit a good approach shot and then knock it close and if something happened in the group behind me in that was out of my control, that's what was meant to be. Lauren really deserved it."

A par was all the sophomore would need as she went on to claim the individual title.

"It doesn't bother me as much because I've had so much experience in those positions," Lehigh said. "I've played from behind, I've played with a lead, it's at the point right now with me that I just need to play my game."

Golden's Sydney Prey and Glenwood Springs' Lauren Murphy both double-bogied the first hole, allowing Lehigh to build on her two-stroke lead right from the start. Lehigh was up four strokes after Hole 1.

Prey shot a triple bogie on the second hole and ended with a +14.

Murphy rallied back to come within one of Lehigh, but couldn't get a birdie on 18.

Loveland girls golf team

(Cannon Casey/CHSAANow.com)